Pain – use it as a motivation to grow closer to Jesus.
Scripture tells us to “fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith” (Heb. 12:2). How do you actually do that? You focus on the truths about Him. And then make choices using those truths.
Truth: Jesus, as our High Priest, keeps us in connection with the Father, no matter what we face each day.
Truth: He is the only and final sacrifice that makes us holy now, despite how we feel; and will also make us holy later (Heb. 10:14) – no matter what situations we currently face.
Truth: Jesus, in the midst of these potentially painful challenges, will forgive us if we mess us.
We are to focus on and believe in these truths, if we are to face what we all encounter each and every day – challenges.
Scripture tells us that the stark reality of life on this planet means we will struggle. Some of which are self-inflicted and some are allowed or brought by the Father. Either way, He will use them to make us more like Jesus. This is called loving Fatherly discipline. Therefore, challenges shouldn’t surprise us one tiny bit.
Yet, these challenges are filtered through the Father’s love, and lubricated with the truths that Jesus keeps us connected to Father in them, enables us to make the right choices during them while giving us a loving hand up if we fall because of them.
This is probably why Paul tells us to rejoice while facing challenges rather than get freaked out by them. Use them to motivate you to become more like Jesus.
Expect them and grow closer to Jesus through them.
If God is for you, who in the world can be against you, right?
Elephants run in herds. And when dangerous situations arise, they put their most vulnerable (often their young) in the middle surrounded by the stronger elephants.
Abram had just returned from defeating the five kings that took his nephew, Lot, captive. The LORD came to Abram in a vision and said, “Fear not, I am your shield.”
Abram went through what we call an adrenaline dump. His fight or flight response led him to fight a great battle, which he decisively won.
Yet after the fight was over, the natural let down had to come. He was vulnerable and possibly questioning himself, “What can of worms did I just open up?”
It’s at this point that Scripture reveals how God showed up to encourage Abram. The LORD would protect Abram just as the herd would their more vulnerable members.
You are surrounded by a shield – God’s presence. Throughout your day, know for a fact that you are not alone. Your Father is right there with you.
Know something else as well, without your Dad being present, your challenges could be even more challenging! And still, in the midst of those challenges, you have the power to love Jesus through your choices.
Live victoriously today because your God is not only for you, but He surrounds you too!
It’s useless if you can’t use it.
Take a verse that you know; and, ask yourself, “Do I know how to use it in my daily choices?”
Knowledge is having that the truth. Understanding is knowing what that truth means. And wisdom is to know how to use that truth in your everyday daily life.
James reveals that our faith will be tested so that our faith will become mature, complete, lacking in nothing. I find it interesting that the Spirit through James doesn’t say that more knowledge of the truth is needed to make this happen. No, He says it takes more wisdom of how to apply the truth. And, if don’t know how, we are told to ask God for more wisdom, not more knowledge.
Wisdom must be based in knowledge of the truth. But knowledge acquisition alone doesn’t bring about a mature faith. It must go through two more steps – understanding (what does that truth mean) and wisdom (how to use that truth in our daily choices).
It is as we choose by faith to apply the truths found in the verses of Scripture that our faith in Jesus will become complete, lacking nothing.
We don’t read the Word of God to simply learn something. We do it to hear Jesus speak to us so we can follow Him through our choices.
As you read the Word of God today, slow down and ask the Spirit to show you what it means and how to apply it in today’s choices. As you do, your faith will deepen and mature. You will become like Jesus.
A new pair of eyes can help solve old problems.
My wife and daughter love to do crossword puzzles. When they break one out, I’m nowhere to be found. I don’t find them entertaining at all.
Yet, I recently put an app on my phone that does the same thing (though without the black boxes). It’s very challenging while being entertaining at the same time. Go figure.
On this app, there is the ability to reorder the letters. This allows you to see the same letters from a new perspective, which often leads to words popping off the screen. Those words were always there. It’s just that I couldn’t see them from the previous orientation.
I believe this to be one of the meanings to the verses that state we’re seated with Christ in heaven at the right hand of the Father. This is not future! This is happening right now.
We live on this planet with a corrupted and broken worldview – the eyes through which we see the world and the basis for our decision making. When we became believers in Jesus, this old thinking didn’t go away. In fact, it fights the Spirit with every choice we make (Gal. 5:17).
This is why we are told to “renew” our minds with the truths found in Scripture. The written Word of God is how to view life from Jesus’ or a heavenly perspective. And while reading, we can ask the Spirit to open our eyes to see the truths found there with a new perspective to solve our challenge.
When you, as a Jesus follower, come to a challenge that keeps repeating itself or a problem that puzzles you, it’s time to reshuffle the letters for a new perspective.
You are seated in the lap of the One who can give the answer – Jesus. He has the victorious perspective to your reoccurring problem. Now, more than ever, is the time to stay in the Word (not avoid it) and ask the Spirit to open your eyes to the solution.
As you do, the answer to your problem will more than likely pop off the page.
“If you only know what Jesus has done for you, you have not a big enough God.”
There is a huge difference between knowing about Jesus and knowing Jesus. One involves gathering a series of facts/truths about Him in your head – who He is and what He’s done; while the other allows these truths to transform your life into Jesus.
This transformation – becoming like Jesus – is where your sin stained character flaws are removed and replaced with Jesus’ eternal character qualities (gold, silver and precious stones – 1 Cor. 3:12).
When this happens, you will see Him show up in ways you’ve never experienced before. You’ll see His fingerprints all over your life, which should increase your thanks to Him and hunger for more of Him in your life.
Ask the Spirit to empower you to act on the truths He shows you about Jesus so you can see Jesus how He wants you to know Him.
Our God is so much bigger than the facts we think we know about Him.